The Fair Felon

James Shirley 1596 (London) – 1666 (London)

In Love's name you are charged hereby
To make a speedy hue and cry,
After a face, who t'other day,
Came and stole my heart away;
For your directions in brief
These are best marks to know the thief:
Her hair a net of beams would prove,
Strong enough to capture Jove,
Playing the eagle; her clear brow
Is a comely field of snow.
A sparkling eye, so pure a gray
As when it shines it needs no day.
Ivory dwelleth on her nose;
Lilies, married to the rose,
Have made her cheek the nuptial bed;
Her lips betray their virgin red,
As they only blushed for this,
That they one another kiss.
But observe, beside the rest,
You shall know this felon best
By her tongue; for if your ear
Shall know this felon best
By her tongue; for if your ear
Shall once a heavenly music hear,
Such as neither gods nor men
But from that voice shall hear again,
That, that is she, oh, take her t'ye,
None can rock heaven asleep but she.

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Submitted on May 13, 2011

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James Shirley

James Shirley (or Sherley) was an English dramatist. He belonged to the great period of English dramatic literature, but, in Charles Lamb's words, he "claims a place among the worthies of this period, not so much for any transcendent genius in himself, as that he was the last of a great race, all of whom spoke nearly the same language and had a set of moral feelings and notions in common." His career of play writing extended from 1625 to the suppression of stage plays by Parliament in 1642. more…

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    "The Fair Felon" Poetry.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 25 Sep. 2020. <https://www.poetry.net/poem/20500/the-fair-felon>.

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